Mar 182015
DUP MLA Paul Givan's who launched the so-called conscience clause and (right) the Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street and the message that sparked the gay cake row
DUP MLA Paul Givan’s who launched the so-called conscience clause and (right) the Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street and the message that sparked the gay cake row

Paul Givan, who introduced the Private Member’s Bill is an evangelical grocer. He believes that his religious beliefs should be able to discriminate in public sector businesses. He wants religious persons of any faith the right to  refuse a situation where they feel they are required to “endorse, promote or facilitate a same-sex sexual relationship in violation of his/her faith identity”

This Affects Sellers and Buyers in the LGBTI Community

It is too simplistic to state, “well if a baker won’t serve LGBTI persons, let them go elsewhere!”  But what about LGBTI persons who are business owners.  Could a Jewish or Christian printer refuse to print a brochure for a lesbian cabinet maker? The answer would be “Yes.” The  Rainbow Coalition, which supports gay rights, has claimed that under the Bill essential services could be denied to same sex couples: restaurants could deny entry, a mortgage provider could deny a mortgage, and hotels could deny a room.  Here are other examples:

  • For example, a Catholic adoption agency could refuse to place a child with a same-sex couple,
  • a Muslim printer could refuse to print a book promoting same-sex sexual relationships
  • and a Hindu photographer could refuse to attend a civil same-sex partnership and still keep his license.
  • In the state of Michigan, (2015) a paediatrician refused to examine a six week baby of a lesbian couple – citing her religious convictions. She did provide a colleague to do the examination.

All Out: An Organization To the Rescue.

In just 48 hours the petition has been signed by more than 100,000 people around the world including the US and Australia. Around 30,000 of the signatures are from people in Northern Ireland.

All Out Action Fund is run by an international team with headquarters in New York City and staff currently based in Argentina, Brazil, France and the UK. The organisation say they respond to “urgent issues facing lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people all over the world. Working with out global partners, we find creative, inspiring ways to push for equality everywhere.”

In December 2014 another petition launched locally gained the backing of gay presenter, comedian and writer Stephen Fry.

He labelled the Northern Ireland  conscience clause bill as “sick” and urged people to sign the petition on against it.

A public consultation on the bill closes on February 27.

paula:  The outcome is unknown to me at the moment – I’ll update this article when I have more information.

Hugs to you all.

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